The certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas
Interview of Suppoter Stores Singapore Takashimaya
Popular event space for introducing food cultures in different regions in Japan
Taking seriously local needs explored over 25 years
Located at the center of Singapore's main street, Orchard Road, Takashimaya has a customer base comprised of 70% of locals and 30% of tourists. The Japanese zone at Basement 2 where food is sold, which gains trust from customers as a landmark, offers the great collection of Japanese famous stores such as “Shiseido Parlour,” “Juchheim”, “Bankaku” and “Minamoto Kitchoan.” “Many of our customers in Singapore have been to Japan, so they know the quality and prices of Japanese products well. That’s why they are discerning consumers,” said Mr. Sotaro Yoshida, Division Manager of the Food Department. “Although we are a Japanese company, our main customers are Singaporeans, so it is important to localize products from the perspective of local customers. Instead of bringing in the same concept of a Japanese department store to Singapore, we try to offer products while keeping in mind the flavors and styles wanted by customers living in this area," says Mr. Yoshida.
Wagyu is very popular. Face-to-face consultative sales by the president of the company opening a booth! Giving advice on the best way to grill beef
At the permanent event corner, they hold events featuring Japanese products for about half of the year. When holding an event, they always ask the president or manufacturing staff of a company opening a booth for the event to actually stand at their booth and deal with customers. He also says, “Local customers prefer premium wagyu (Japanese beef). Therefore, we always ask staff at the booth to give tips on how to grill beef according to the types and to provide advice on the best way to eat it from the perspective of professionals. As a result, customers will be able to purchase products after understanding them. When a customer requests a way of eating beef that the Japanese never think of, the staff will be able to respond to it immediately. This kind of response can only be done by persons who actually handle the products." Even if there are language barriers when selling products, when they demonstrate their cooking performance using their good quality products and attract customers’ attention, it will surely lead to an increase in sales of the product.
Foods reminiscent of Chinese dishes sell well
Yonehachi, which is marked by a wooden plate saying "Japanese sticky rice used (Hime no Mochi from Iwate)," is a popular store where people always have to wait in lines. Steam comes out from various kinds of soft and chewy steamed sticky rice laid out in the store and you can purchase it hot. “In Singapore where 70% of customers have Chinese roots, I realize that many people are familiar with the cooking method of steaming. In that sense, people stop at a store where steaming hot foods are sold. When at a special event we sold “Kayanoya” dashi products, which are also popular in Japan, we made Chawan-mushi, steamed egg custard with assorted ingredients, using the dashi in the store and provided it to customers. As a result, the dashi products flew off the shelves. When selling Japanese products, I think that one of the key points is to know what people with Chinese heritage like.”
“Qjiki” that specializes in Satsuma-age (deep-fried fish cakes) from Kagoshima Prefecture opened its booth for a special event. There was a crowd formed at the booth frying fish paste covered with corn kernels. "Deep fried food is also popular as well as steamed food. Hot food sells better than cold one. The sizzling of cooking food in front of customers is important."
Trying to “go the extra mile to sell products”
“For example, as for sake, only Daiginjo sells well, but if you drink Junmai sake hot, it will surely give you a different impression. In the future, I would like to try to make suggestions on how to savor food and drink.''